Sir William Beresford

British General
Viscount of Albuera

William BeresfordJoining the army in 1785, the aristocratic Beresford served in North America and lost an eye in a hunting accident in 1786.

He fought the French at Toulon and, in 1795, joined the 88th when it went to India.

Beresford saw more service in Egypt, the Cape and then came the embarrassment of being captured at Buenos Aires.

After a brief time as Governor of Madeira (for Portugal), Beresford returned to the British army with Sir John Moore and the Duke of Wellington.

In 1809, he was promoted and given the task of turning the Portuguese army into an efficient and disciplined fighting force.

Knighted after the battle of Bussaco, Beresford then commanded at the bloody conflict of Albuera, where he received criticism for his positioning of troops.

Supported by Wellington, Beresford threw off self-doubt and continued to play a major role in the campaign.

A man of immense personal strength - he once threw a French cavalryman from his saddle - he was severely wounded at Salamanca.

After the war he became Master-General of the Ordnance between 1828 and 1830.

Whatever doubts others may have had about Beresford's capacity for independent command they were never backed by Wellington.

He said if anything ever happened to him then it was Beresford he wanted to take over.

Great praise indeed.

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